January 2008
Ocean Freight Air Cargo Customs & Border Protection

Ocean Freight


Increase in BAF for the Trans-Atlantic Market


The Trans-Atlantic Conference Agreement (TACA) has temporarily decreased their current fuel surcharges (BAF) as of Dec. 17, 2007 to the levels of Sept. 16, 2007 and will hold these levels through Feb. 15, 2008 at least.


Current levels are:


Atlantic and Gulf Ports:

20-foot container        $    607.00

40-foot container        $ 1,214.00


U.S. West Coast Ports:

20-foot container        $    911.00

40-foot container        $ 1,822.00


Members of TACA are: Atlantic Container Line A/B (ACL); Maersk Line; Mediterranean Shipping Co.(MSC); Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line; and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL).


BAF levels for Trans-Pacific Market


Steamship lines have announced that the U.S. West Coast BAF levels for February 2008 will decrease from the January 2008 published rate by about 5%. The published tariff rates for February 2008 will be:


20-foot container        $  720.00

40-foot container        $  905.00

40-foot high cube       $1015.00


Inland Fuel Charges

Charge effective February 1, 2008


$82 per container trucked only cargo

$285 per container for railed, or truck/rail cargo                                           


Air Cargo


TSA (Transportation Security Administration) inspection of cargo


Please be aware that when shipping air cargo there are many layers of security and regulations.

All cargo shipments are subject to inspection.  International Freight Systems will not automatically perform such inspection, except as may be required by law.


Please watch for further updates on new TSA requirements.  The TSA regulates all aspects of air cargo security.  Their website is www.tsa.gov



Customs & Border Protection Updates


Textiles covered under free trade agreements:


On Dec. 13, 2007, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a press release on the results of its textile enforcement measures on imports of high-risk textiles and apparel from countries with trade preference agreements. In its press release, CBP said:


1. In Fiscal Year 2007 it increased foreign factory visits by 57% to monitor for illegal transshipment by sending Textile Production Verification Teams (TPVT) to confirm actual country of origin and compliance with trade preference agreements.


2. CBP visited 168 foreign factories in 10 countries to verify claims involving Free Trade Agreements such as the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement and other trade preference programs such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act.


3. CBP officers at U.S. ports of entry examined 13,327 shipments in 2007 and found more than 2,300 shipments where discrepancies were found.


4. Also initiated by CBP were 68 actions against importers for violation of these programs resulting in $50.1 million in penalties for commercial fraud.


5. According to CBP, it will continue this massive enforcement effort in 2008, primarily focusing on textile quota evasion and improper claims for duty-free treatment using trade preference programs.


6. Importers should implement procedures to verify tariff classification of textiles and apparel products before they are imported from countries with trade preference agreements. Importers should require suppliers to maintain and provide documentation in regards to country of origin and eligibility of textile and apparel products including tracking of purchasing and sourcing records and employee and production records to give evidence that the goods were produced in that location. Under Customs Regulations 19 CFR 141.113Bb), it may conduct a post-entry origin verification for up to 6 months after release and delivery of the products and may require re-delivery within that time if the importer fails to provide Customs with sufficient evidence of origin of goods. Liquidated damages plus penalties will be assessed for failure to re-deliver the cargo. Customs may also detain and exclude goods prior to importation into the U.S. if the foreign supplier is the subject of a textile verification review and the supplier cannot provide sufficient evidence to verify country of origin of the goods in question.


Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA)


Pres. Bush has signed the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) on Dec. 14, 2007. The trade agreement between Peru and the United States will grant each country access to markets through lower duty rates. The agreement states that under PTPA, 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products will become duty-free immediately with the remaining tariffs to be phased out over a 10-year period.


Under PTPA, all textile and apparel products meeting the PTPA rules of origin will immediately become duty-free and quota-free.


US Presence in China for Food Production Exportation


China and the United States have come to an agreement to allow a greater U.S. presence in China of U.S. safety officials in food production facilities according to a New York Times article published on Dec. 12, 2007. The agreement would allow for more inspections and allow maintenance of a public list of Chinese food exporter's records. While the agreement does not cover all food exports from China, according to the New York Times, some of the products that will be covered include preserved foods, pet food ingredients and some fish. Provisions of the agreement allow the list to be expanded.


Customs Regulation on Recordkeeping: What every importer should know:


Customs and Border Protection makes available to the public a publication entitled “What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About: Recordkeeping”. It is designed to inform the importing community about its obligations regarding the keeping of records according to Customs regulations.


The publication includes the following:


What are Records?

What are Entry Records?

Who is Subject to Recordkeeping Requirements?

How Long Must Records Be Kept?

Must Original Records be Kept?

What are the Requirements for Alternative Storage Methods?

Production of Entry Records?

General Examination Authority.

Summons to Third Party Record keepers.

Summons Enforcement and Penalties.

Recordkeeping Compliance Program.


These regulations are especially important to U.S. Importers and Exporters utilizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) although recordkeeping is an absolute requirement for all importers into the U.S.


This publication and more information about recordkeeping may be accessed at Customs website at www.cbp/gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/legal/informed_compliance_pubs/.  



Chinese Lunar New Year


Please note that much of the Far East will be closed down for Lunar New Year celebrations. In particular, China will be closed from February 6, 2008 through February 12, 2008. Please make sure any and all cargo is booked as far in advance as possible, and shipped out before these dates. Vessel space is already tight and everyone will be trying to ship their cargo out right before Chinese Lunar New Year.



Closed Feb 6 2008 (Wednesday) through 12 Feb 2008 (Tuesday).


Hong Kong

Closed Feb 7, 2008 (Thursday) through 10 Feb 2008 (Sunday).  



International Freight Systems (of WA) LLC Newsletter is a bulletin for customers and partners.  Information contained in this publication has been gathered from a number of public sources that, to the best International Freight Systems’ knowledge, are true and correct.  It is our intent to present only accurate information.  However, in the event any information contained in this newsletter is erroneous, International Freight Systems (of WA) LLC accepts no liability or responsibility.

For more information on importation and U.S. Customs please click on the below link directly to Customs & Border Protection website:  www.cbp.gov

For more information on air cargo matters, please click on:  www.tsa.gov